Algeria has hosted delegates from North Korea and South Korea as part of a thaw in relations between the two long-time enemies.
According to Middle East Eye reports, South Korea’s ambassador to Algeria, Park Sang Jin, invited his North Korean counterpart Choi Hyuk Chul to his home in Algiers on May 1. No information on the meeting has been made public.
Algeria had already proposed a mediation last September, when tensions between North Korean leader Kim Yong-un and US President Donald Trump raised fears of a military confrontation over Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic programs.
The peninsula has had a period of relative calm since the beginning of the year. North Korea participated and sent a delegation to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea in February and in April, Kim Jong-un became the first leader of the Marxist state to visit South Korea since the de facto end of the Korean War in 1953. A peace treaty has never been signed.
The North has also taken diplomatic steps, including reaching South Korea’s time zone and submitting a proposal to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to open an air corridor to South Korea.
Cairo and Algiers are the only two Arab capitals to host a diplomatic representation of the two Koreas and the rapprochement between the two Koreas gives Algiers the opportunity to capitalize on its old relations by becoming a hub for South Korean investments in the South MENA region. This would also open an export and investment market in North Korea’s.